Guinea pigs usually just love to be handled. They love attention and make great companions. You must follow a few simple steps when you handle a guinea pig which we will show you here.
When you reach into your guinea pig's cage or hutch, you might find that it runs away and hides. This isn't a bad thing - it's their natural behaviour and it shows that they are fit and alert.
Slide the palm of your hand under your guinea pig. Place your other hand firmly but gently over the guine pig's back. Make sure your hold is firm enough for the guinea pig not to escape or jump.
Life up your guinea pig carefully. Remember that they may try and wriggle if they feel uncomfortable, but don't panic.
Part of handling your guinea pig is settling them down once you have picked them up. Sit down with the guinea pig in your lap. If your guinea pig is nervous, try talking to it with a soft voice or even mimic the noises they like to make!
Be a bit 'touchy feely' with you guinea pig - they will love the petting and attention!
You might find, especially if your guine pig is new, that he or she is a bit restless. Don;t worry about this. Don't desperately hold onto them, just let them go or place them back in their hutch or cage.
If you guinea pig doesn't seem to settle at this point of the handling after a minute or so, it might just be that they aren't used to it. This will probably come with time - a guinea pig that doesn't like to be handled will normally become more comfortable with it over time.
If you find that your guinea pig just doesn't like being handled or petted at all, then maybe it's just not for them.
If your guinea pig seems happy for some time and then suddenly gets a bit restless, they may need to go to the toilet! Calmly put them back in their hutch or cage.
Guinea pigs will generally love the odd behind-the-ear tickles or gentle neck massage. Some may like their head being stroked, others not. It's a pig's personal preference!
Once your guinea pig handling session is over, it's time to put them back in their quarters. This often needs a bit more care than taking them out, as occasionally they tend to try and leap away as you put them back.
If you find that your guinea pig is a jumpy when you put them back in their quarters, you can try placing them in backwards, holding them in the same way as we advised before.
Handling your guinea pig can be a real joy for both of you. Most guinea pigs love being petted. When you first start to handle your guinea pig, take it slowly, one step at a time.